Trusted Same-Sex Divorce Attorney in Los Angeles, California
At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, our Los Angeles family law attorney believes that everyone shares the same fundamental right to build a family with whomever they love in this world, regardless of their gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
Fortunately, California was well ahead of the rest of the nation when it came to relationships. Years before the 2015 Supreme Court ruled the fundamental right to marry was guaranteed to same-sex couples, California recognized both domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages.
Although the U.S. recognizes all marriages equally, after nearly a decade, same-sex spouses may still face a few distinct challenges when it comes to divorce.
Our Los Angeles County helps our clients identify potentially disputed details for same-sex couples, like child custody, property division, and spousal support, so they understand how California’s family and divorce laws align with their expectations for the future.
How are Child Custody Details Different During Same-Sex Divorces?
When same-sex couples decide to expand their families, their main options for having children include adoption or surrogacy. When they become parents, the children’s best interests take center stage in the relationship. This is true during divorce, too.
Technically, under California law, same-sex child custody cases should unfold exactly the same as other child custody cases. That is to say, all divorcing couples with children are subject to the same rules for establishing a parenting plan and residential schedule.
The difference is, in an opposite-sex marriage, the husband is legally assumed to be the father of any child(ren) born during the marriage. However, that legal presumption does not apply to same-sex marriages.
If you and your spouse completed the process of legally establishing parentage in California, then you will both be legally recognized as the parents. If one of the spouses is not legally recognized as the mother/father of the child(ren), then parentage will need to be addressed before moving forward with child custody and visitation details.
Once parentage is determined or confirmed, the next step is to establish a custody agreement. If you and your spouse can create a child custody agreement, visitation schedule, and parenting plan on your own, the court will simply review the details to ensure they are in the children’s best interests before finalizing the divorce. If you cannot determine how to divide your time with the children, you must first attempt to negotiate an agreement during mediation before a California family court judge will hear your case during litigation.
If the only way to determine child custody details is through a court order, the judge will consider:
- Age of the child(ren).
- Ability of each parent to provide for the child(ren).
- Any family history of domestic violence.
- Care taking ability of each parent.
- Child’s relationship with each parent and with other siblings, when applicable.
- Each parent’s available time to spend with the child.
- Evidence of one parent’s drug or alcohol abuse.
- Nature of each parent’s home environment.
- Safety of the child.
- Specific needs of the child, and any extenuating or special need circumstances involved in their care.
- The needs, mental and physical health, emotional and mental stability of both the children and the parents.
- Where the child currently attends school.
Our same-sex divorce attorneys provide the support, resources, and experience necessary to address each of our client’s child custody expectations, so that together we navigate each of their family law needs using real-time solutions that allow them to confidently move forward.
Are Property Division Details Different During Same-Sex Divorces?
Before same-sex couples were given the equal opportunity to marry, many shared their lives in committed relationships where they supported each other financially. When domestic partners purchase homes, cars, and other property together before they are married, saying “I do” can change how that property is divided in the event of a divorce.
California is a community property state, not an equitable distribution state. This means that any assets or property acquired during a marriage belong equally to both spouses and must be equally divided between the two spouses during a divorce.
So, what happens to the bank accounts, savings, credit cards, property, and other assets and debts that were acquired before the marriage? This distinction can make categorizing some assets as either community property or individual property challenging without an attorney.
Partnering with an experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney will help you determine how our property division laws apply to assets and debts you obtained during your complete time together.
Can One Spouse Pursue Spousal Support During a Same-Sex Divorce?
The California family courts review multiple factors when awarding and determining spousal support, none of which are gender related. However, like the potential property division issue, one of the major factors when awarding spousal support is how long the couple was married — not how long their relationship was. If you were in a long-term relationship before marrying, the court may not consider the years before your nuptials when determining an alimony award.
We can help the court understand how each person’s role in the relationship should be assessed for spousal support purposes by reviewing the entire relationship, including:
- The standard of living during the marriage.
- Individual contributions to the marriage.
- If one partner stayed home to raise the children.
- Future parenting responsibilities.
- If one partner went to school during the marriage to obtain a better-paying position.
In California, spousal support may be awarded temporarily, permanently, or in a lump sum. Allow our skilled same-sex divorce attorneys in Los Angeles to review the details of your marriage to determine how the court will view your alimony needs — or opposition to paying it.
Contact Our Same-sex Divorce Attorneys in Los Angeles, California Today
If you have questions about same-sex divorce in California, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today. We can help provide solutions that produce results.